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December 27, 2013
Still unsure about the flu vaccine? This may change your mind.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that flu vaccinations prevented an estimated 6.6 million illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations during last year’s flu season. Find out more about the benefits and why there’s still time to get your employees vaccinated.

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The estimated benefits of vaccination for last year were higher than for any other season the CDC has analyzed. The report found that during the 2012–2013 season, there were nearly 400,000 flu-related hospitalizations in the United States. Notes CDC Director Tom Frieden, “We could prevent even more illness by increasing use of flu vaccines among people of all ages.”

Older adults and healthcare providers are among the groups most affected by the flu. The CDC reports high vaccination rates among clinical providers like pharmacists, physicians, and nurses, but much lower rates among assistants or aides and health workers in long-term care facilities.

It’s not too late to vaccinate

According to the CDC, it’s not too late to get the vaccine for this season. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity typically peaks in January or later.

Tips for reducing the impact of flu at your workplace:

  • Get senior management to support a flu vaccination clinic at the site.
  • Establish and communicate the idea that getting employees vaccinated against the flu is a business priority.
  • Identify a flu vaccination coordinator and/or team with defined roles and responsibilities.
  • Ask managers and supervisors to allow employees to attend an on-site flu vaccination clinic as part of their workday and without having to clock out.
  • Consider offering vaccinations to employees’ families.
  • Each year, try to improve upon the percentage of employees vaccinated over the previous year.
  • Use incentives to increase participation. Some strategies include offering the vaccine at no or low cost, providing refreshments at the clinic, or holding a contest for the department with the highest percentage of vaccinated employees.
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